Alaska Ear

JOB CORE . . . Is Ear the only appendage who giggled when Rep. Kyle Johansen got assigned to the State Affairs committee? Who says House Speaker Mike Chenault has no sense of humor?

HEAD OF THE CLASS . . . Former State Sen. Gretchen Guess plans to run for the Anchorage School Board seat now held by John Steiner. John is termed out and can't run for re-election.

Experienced politicians rarely run for the school board -- it's more often seen as a steppingstone for ambitious wannabes who hope they're on the way up. Guess, who is regional director of business planning and development for Providence Alaska Medical Center, served one term each in the House and Senate and chose not to run for re-election in 2006. She had two young children, she said, and no longer felt she could split her life and family by spending three months a year in Juneau. Education has always been her issue, and her oldest child is now in school, she said, so the School Board seems like a natural.

HIGH ENERGY . . . Fairbanks News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole reports the governor's pal, former Sen. Gene Therriault, has been hired as vice president of Golden Valley Electric Association. Utility conspiracy theorists tried to explain why this matters, but it was very complicated and Ear got bored. The Omniscient Orifice is like the rest of Alaska: Don't bother us until the lights go out or our bills go up.

QUESTION . . . Why did a crew from Dan Rather's cable show turn up Thursday for the taping of the Shannyn Moore Show over at the TapRoot cafe in Spenard? Rumor was they're working on a Sen. Lisa election story, but isn't that old news?

SUN DANCING . . . Robert Redford's terribly fashionable film festival is under way in Park City, Utah, and one of our guys is front and center this year. Barrow filmmaker Andrew MacLean's "On the Ice" is one of the productions featured in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

ON THE ROAD . . . The governor and first lady were in Fairbanks on Friday for one of the many scheduled inaugural receptions (We apparently don't call them Inaugural Balls anymore). Earwigs report it was also Sandy's birthday. To celebrate, the governor arranged a private dinner at an Italian restaurant with flowers, balloons -- and rose petals. Who knew he was that romantic.

KUDOS . . . Alaska writer Andromeda Romano-Lax has sold the English language rights to her second novel to Soho Press. Trade mag Publishers Weekly listed the sale in its Jan. 10 issue as a "deal of the week." Ear hopes that means Andromeda got a lot money for it.

The book, titled "The Discus Thrower," is about a young German art dealer who travels to Italy in 1938 under orders to get a statue for Hitler. Publication is set for next year.

OMG . . . Seriously. The "Alaska Freedom Cruise" is coming to Southeast this spring, featuring "Special Guest Host Gov. Mike Huckabee." The package deal is "hands down the best Christian-based Alaskan cruise for the 2011 season," according to ads that surfaced last week. Presidential hopeful, Fox commentator and ex-Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas promises to be on board and available for the entire eight-day trip. No word on whether the presumably sinful casino will operate. The ship, The Sapphire Princess, has 700 balconies, so jumping is always an option.

BY ANY OTHER NAME . . . Ear assumes someone just made a mistake in the caption on a Juneau Empire photo last week, the one that identified Lesil McGuire's son as "Grayson McGuire" rather than Grayson Anderson. He's Lesil's and Tom's boy. He was there for the opening of the legislative session, and Mama introduced him from the floor.

POINT TAKEN . . . Once again, the UAA debate team is making a name for itself in far-flung places. At the 2011 World Universities Debating Championships in Botswana over the holidays, only five of the 69 American teams entered survived the initial elimination, and two of them were from UAA. When it was all over, they didn't win first in the world but they did beat the rest of the U.S.

IT COULD HAPPEN . . . Say you're the mayor of an unnamed Alaska city and you arrive at Tuesday's Assembly meeting only to find some miscreant has parked in your reserved spot. What do you do? Maybe you park in the closest vacant spot, which unfortunately happens to be a handicapped space. And maybe that leads to a stern PA announcement echoing throughout the building, warning whoever parked in the handicapped spot that his car was about to be towed.

An earwig who takes an oath of office tells this tale, alas omitting details about how it ended -- about who moved what car and whether they had to leave the meeting during the debate over non-cops writing parking tickets downtown.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at or 257-4341. Find Ear online at